Thursday, November 30, 2006

Crash! & The Kindness of Strangers

First things first - No One Was Hurt!
It had been a good day; lots of errands and “to dos” crossed off a long list. It had been unseasonably warm. Chuck and I were together (always good) and we had decided to get an early dinner at a great Mexican restaurant before heading home. Chuck was driving slowly in the right hand lane, about a block from where we were going to take a right at the light. Suddenly, a car crashed into the driver’s side door and front quarter of our car. A young college student’s car was perpendicular to us. I got out and was surprised to see how much damage we had sustained. Because while it felt like a big scary crash, there had also been a feeling of solidity in the way our Subaru wagon took the impact. We were able to limp the car a couple of car lengths into the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot, which turned out to be where the other driver had been heading when she hit us. None of us was injured. We had all been wearing our seatbelts. Her car would be drivable. Because of the wheel damage we sustained, ours would not be.

That was the crash. Now, onto the kindness of strangers.
- The young gal driving the other car was sweet and apologetic as we all made sure that everyone was alright and exchanged our information.
- The police dispatchers we called were swift and efficient.
- The two Fitchburg police officers who responded were polite, compassionate and reassuring.
- AAA was easy to deal with and got the ball rolling on a tow for our car. Later they called us back to give us an ETA on the flatbed.
- Our car dealership was close by, still open and could rent us a car to get home.
- The woman at our auto insurance company was kind, patient, asked all the right questions, walked us through exactly what we needed to do and in what order.
- The other driver offered to buy us coffee, before she got back on the road and headed off to class.
- While waiting in the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot for our tow truck, one of the employees came out on her dinner break to ask if we needed a ride or anything else.
- Our tow truck driver, John, had a sunny disposition, arrived right on time and got our car safely loaded in just a few minutes. Then we climbed into the cab with him and he drove us to the dealership.
- The folks at the dealership were ready for us and had us set up with a rental in no time.

We feel lucky. We feel fortunate. We are grateful. Grateful every single person we dealt with was well intentioned. Grateful for well engineered, safe vehicles, seat belts and cell phones. We know we have paperwork ahead of us and finances to sort out, and we wish we had never been in an accident tonight. But our spirits never fell and all that positive interaction with other folks left us reassured in the inherent goodness of people.
By the way, two and a half hours after we planned to have our early dinner, we had a delicious meal at Ixtapa. The service? Warm, friendly and courteous as always. After the events of today, how could it have been otherwise!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Swap Shed

Yesterday, we gathered up the trash and the items we saved to recycle and drove off to the town dump. It has a longer, fancier and more accurate name but everyone still calls it "The Dump". As we off loaded one bag of trash for the landfill and lots of paper, cans and bottles in the recycle bins, I paused and took a look around. All of the recycle stations have multiplied. There are now places for used motor oil, old tires, computer monitors, metal... You name it. It's there. Including the old Swap Shed. It's been spruced up a bit, but it still functions the same way it always has. As long as something is usable you can leave it in The Swap Shed - or poke around and find a new treasure for yourself. That got me thinking about this poem. I wrote it several years ago and even had it published in our weekly paper. Soon after, my husband Chuck was told that it had been clipped out and saved by our local historical society! I guess they wanted a little slice of life word picture of one aspect of our small town.

The Swap Shed

Andirons and silk flowers
go in one door
Fiberglass insulation
and a lavatory sink
come out the other
It's Saturday at the dump
Landfill and Recycling Center

Standing between the green bins
for sorting glass
and the roll-off
filled with old news
is our little slice of heaven
at the dump:
The Swap Shed
"Take It or Leave It"
the sign says
and we do just that

A father comes out
with a big brown teddy bear
for his son sitting in the back seat
of the blue minivan
A woman carries in a large clear glass lamp
I imagine the possibilities
but am distracted by the gas grill
behind a red pick up truck
Is it coming or going?
It's going

A stack of Harlequin romances goes in
two mysteries come out
This is much better than
Filene's old basement
(the real one)
No waiting in line to check out
and all the thrill of the hunt
without the nasty elbowing for position
also, very few people
strip down to try on clothes!

Speaking of which,
a stack of newborn clothes
laundered and folded goes in
and a Vegamatic comes out
Moments later
the Vegamatic returns
rejected by the wife
waiting patiently in the car
for the happier than a pig in
The Swap Shed
to come out

He does
with a hand plane
with only one part
He'll look again next week
at The Swap Shed

- LMR/PinkGranite

Monday, November 27, 2006

Her Given Name Was Marion...

Her given name was Marion but by the time she passed in 1996 everyone knew her as Gagee. Marion was born in 1901. By the mid 1920s she was married to Merv and had given birth to two daughters. This photo of Marion as a very young girl has the name Gagee written on it in Gagee's own hand. The story goes that my eldest sister couldn't say Grandma, but could say Gagee and the name stuck. Gagee was an awesome grandmother long before the word awesome came into such popular usage. She raised two daughters, and was the proud grandmother of 10. She embodied love. Gagee was a giver and a hugger. She was quick to laugh, slow to anger and took great joy in everything connected with her family.

This photo was taken of Gagee just a few years before she passed. Already well into her 90s you can see the delight on her face as she clapped her hands in happiness. Gagee never learned to drive, never had an answering machine or a cell phone. She never heard of a Blog. But she'd probably think this was all pretty cool! Her family continues to grow with great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. Those of us who were lucky enough to know her well, still miss her ten years after her death. And all the other family members know her through the family stories. Love you Gagee. Thanks for everything.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

He's Such a Good Egg

Yesterday, on a chilly but sunny November Saturday morning, my husband Chuck (Wonder Hubby/Hero/BFF) drove over to buy organic eggs direct from the farm. He left me to keep sleeping in our warm bed. He figured that after the week that was I could use the rest. After the week that was, he needed the rest as well, but that's the kind of guy he is. We both love taking care of each other. Saturday morning that meant he was happy to drive in a cold car, listening to NPR on the radio, as he traveled one town over to the farm store. Now we have a good supply of farm fresh eggs, and I can make him happy by preparing flavorful, nourishing meals for us both.
A few years ago, someone asked us to describe our marriage. We said that we work hard at our marriage, but it never feels like hard work. Yes, I am grateful.

Jordan Pond in Springtime

After years of traveling in autumn to Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine, we began going in the spring as well. This photo is of Jordan Pond with The Bubbles in the distance. Behind us is the Jordan Pond House where you can have fresh lemonade and popovers and enjoy this spectacular scene. You can also walk along the edge of Jordan Pond on a level path, or set out on one of the Carriage Trails. Even though we just returned from Acadia and Bar Harbor a month ago, we are already looking forward to our next visit in the spring!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Well Begun Is Half Done

Well begun is half done. I created my Blog. Took the leap and here I am. I thought it would be easy to write my first post. That is until I went searching for a Goethe quote I love and found that it has been wrongly attributed to Goethe! This was particularly distressing to me because over the years, I have created three separate art pieces for my nieces in which I used the following Goethe quote:

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!"
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749-1832

But according to The Goethe Society of North America ( it appears to be more accurately attributed to W.H. Murray by way of John Anster! Fortunately, regardless of who first wrote the words, the meaning and message remain the same. By the way, "Well begun is half done" is attributed to Aristotle, but according to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, Aristotle was quoting a proverb!
Thanks for reading. More later.